Trade Associations Talks on the plights and remedies for the Informal Sector at the recently concluded Conference of Nigeria Trade Associations in Lagos.
The 2nd edition of the Conference of Nigeria Trade Associations 2019 with the theme Convergence of Informal Sector and Trade Associations for Sustainable Development held at the LCCI Conference and Exhibition Centre, Lagos, Nigeria on Tuesday 25th June 2019 stared off on a good note with unprecedented number of attendance making it the largest gathering of diverse trade associations in Nigeria. The Conference brought together a great number of informal entrepreneurs, business executives, government agencies, media practitioners and trade associations across diverse sectors in Nigeria and has remained the first of its kind in Nigeria.
The aim of the Conference among others is to identify the modern ways of assessing sustainable practices among trade associations and in the informal sector across industry for inclusive growthand making recommendation for sustainable developmentto achieving the United Nations Global Goals locally.
Mr. Nelson Obinethe Co-host driving the focus of discussion,reiterated that the informal sector operate under some form of government laws and regulations that generate income to the government; they obtain at cost; operating licenses, permits, signage, registered business names and registered premises. He adduced the causes of rise in the informal sector to the increased tax burden and regulation in the formal economy, government failuresand increasing unemployment rate in the country. He noted that as of 2018 report, informal sector are said to contribute over 65% of the nation’s GDP and accounts for over 70% of the working population. Today they make up to 80% percent of new jobs in Africa; in spite of these strides they are often neglected by government.
The spate of kidnapping, insurgency, change in climate change, high cost of alternative source of energy resulting in fall in income affects everyone. Every entity operates under one economy which is practically the ground of convergence; it imperative for all and sundry to come together as a forum to address the bothering issues of the economy for inclusive growth, if we must achieve on sustainable development goals.
Avid speakers including Mr. Ajepeaiye Nurudeen of National Electronics Technician Association of Nigeria, Mr. Aderoju Babatunde of Professional Carpenters and Furniture Makers Association of Lagos, Adenike Opebi of the Lagos State Chapter of Rentals Association and others enumerated several problems faced by informal sector ranging from: poor infrastructural facilities and lack of patronage from the government, local government harassment and poor economy.
Mr. Wale Thompson of the Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment while feeding questions on-behalf Mrs. TaiwoAbiose, Head of Entrepreneurship shared the visions and achievement of the ministry. Ms. Adeyemi decried duplication of trade association in the same discipline and the continued attention accorded them by government agencies; this parochial play by the government will not drive membership, benefits and growth. She beckoned on the government to consider the informal entrepreneurs in their demand for services, maintenance and procurement decisions.
Another participant Mr. LanreBayewustressed the importance of large scale production in order to excel in a competitive market which the bigger conglomerates are enjoying today.The one day conference was climaxed with recommendation of sustainable solution which include making data on the informal sector available for in-depth analysis; with special consideration accorded to women to ensure that their peculiar interest and characteristics are taken into consideration and more enlightenment campaign by the standard organization of Nigeria, consumer protection council, national agency food and drug administration and control.The conference came to a closewith a call to others to join the gathering in next edition.